Thursday, May 15, 2014

More Apps for That - a blog update

About a year ago I posted about the apps I have on my smart phone in There's an App for That! 
Over a year ago, my children had encouraged me to update from an embarrassingly uncool and pre-Diluvian flip phone to a really cool smart phone from a well-known and very cool company that is known for cool computers, cool phones, cool portable electronic devices and advertisements that are so cool I don't really know what they are trying to get me to buy. (But has a very catchy tune from the 'Pixies', watch the Gigantic ad here.)
Before I go any further in my update, let me just say that this is relevant to a library blog, because libraries are now really cool too. The Berkeley Heights Public Library has a phone app, downloadable e-books, a website of course, this really cool blog (ahem) and a very strong presence on social media (ie: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc)
So anyway, in the last year I have added a mini-tablet to my arsenal of techie stuff. The mini-tablet is from the same cool company referred to above. The idea is that my phone and my tablet will 'sync up' with each other, sharing content and reporting it all to the same 'cloud' where my stuff (photos etc) is stored. And my devices and my kids' devices are made by the same company so we can video talk with each other easily without having the battle of rival hardware/software occur. At least that's the idea and that is generally the case except when it's not working, but of course, one always assumes that if one was just 'cool' enough it would all work seamlessly and I would be singing 'Gigantic' and not cursing when both my personal and work to do lists appears on my phone, but not on my tablet.
Here are some of the apps I have added in the last year to my phone and tablet. I'm not saying I couldn't live without them, but they are really cool.
Merlin Bird ID - (free) a bird identifying app that allows you to look up a bird by characteristics and then gives you a best guess list and the calls of the bird plus maps of where it can be found and other information about the bird. That bird with the little beret look? It's a Black Capped Chickadee. Who knew?
BuzzFeed - (free) which is basically the biggest time-waster ever and really fun. If you have ever seen those fun quizzes being passed around on Facebook about which Jane Austen character would you be, or what country fits you best, BuzzFeed is probably the source of those little quizzes.
GasBuddy - (free) for finding the cheapest gas nearby.
United Airlines - (free) for keeping track of my flights and getting a mobile boarding pass.
For real estate searching, I have Trulia and Zillow  (free) which are useful for house-hunting or just for snooping about house values in your neighborhood.
Animoto - (free + fee version) which allows you to make free 30 second slide shows set to music. You can use photos from your phone or device, upload them to your account and make a really nice little slide show very quickly. For a fee, you will be able to make longer videos.
Overdrive Media Console - (free) allows me to borrow ebooks from eLibraryNJ through the library website. The reference librarians help patrons set this up on their devices all the time and it is hugely popular when people find out they don't have to purchase ebooks and e-audiobooks.
Zinio -(free) also available from the library website allows patrons to download magazines to their devices. I love this, the magazines look great on a tablet and they do not ever expire or come due.
I also have the apps for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and GoodReads so I can post to my personal accounts or follow what other people are posting.

What apps do you like? Click on 'comment' below to let us know.
Here is the link to one of the library's Animoto slide shows
and below is another library Animoto video. You can embed the HTML into a blog or website. How cool is that?

Going to the Library

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